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The Dublin Atmospheric Railroad

Published 15 July 2018


History repeats itself in the era of the modern railway. This briefing describes the progress made on vacuum technology used on the passenger trains of the time. It seems the benefit of this system is to keep the large and expensive engine in a stationary position at the end of the track. The has the benefits of not moving this large mass, and locating the steam engine near convenient water and coal sources. The obvious drawback is that it would be nearly impossible to reliably maintain a vacuum pressure for the length of the track. This article also highlights the interaction between governments and special interest groups.

Guide  to Life
18 May 1884

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One of the most startling adaptations of a natural law to the purposes of progression has recently been brought into operation near Dublin. It is entitled the Atmospheric Railroad. When first suggested, the idea was regarded as chimerical; but experiment having demonstrated its practicability, it deserves the immediate attention of all who interest themselves in the progress of improvement. The rails are laid down in the ordinary mode, but in place of a steam engine moving with every train, there is an air-tight tube between the rails, and connected with the carraiges to be moved. The tube being exhausted by a permanent engine fixed upon the line, the carraiges are drawn onward by the pressure of the air behind upon the vacuum before.

With respect to the Dalkey Extension, it is mentioned by the Dublin Monitor, that, during the last fortnight, quarter-hour trains have been running daily, Sundays excepted, on the atmospheric line from eleven in the morning to four in the evening, and that not the slightest in delay or accident has occurred. Passengers are carried free of expense,as the line is not yet open for genertal traffic, the negotiations betwee the Company and the Lords of the Treasury being still pending. It is stated in another journal, that Mr. James Walker, the well known engineer, has been instructed by Government to examine and report upon the matter at issue in these negotiations. We have no doubt that Mr. Walker's good sense will lead him to the conclusion at which the public has already errived; namely, that a more descreditable attempt, originating in a more discreditable desire to embarrass the promotors of a great public work, has never before been made. We are informed, that on several occaisons during the holiday week, upwards of ten thousand persons were carried on the Dalkey line in the short space of five hours!.


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